Beginners’ Guide to Razz Poker
Razz poker is a fun variant of seven-card stud poker that can be played online for real or play money. On this page you’ll learn how to play Razz and understand how the betting works. We’ll even show you the top places to play online in your state. Discover the best online Razz poker sites right here. Sign up in minutes, make a first deposit and earn free cash or buy-ins when you open your account.
How TopUSCasinos Picks the Best Razz Poker Sites
At TopUSCasinos.com, we only recommend the most reliable poker sites. All our picks offer great games, a range of stakes and generous bonuses. Here’s what our review team looks for:
Licensing & Security: It’s important to trust the poker room when you play a Razz game online. That’s why all our top-rated poker sites are properly licensed in the US. Every random number generator will be audited to ensure a fair shuffle and deal every time.
Range of Razz Poker Games: Razz is usually played online as a cash game. However, the best sites will offer a selection of Razz tournaments and Sit & Gos as well.
Stakes to Suit Every Budget: Whether you’re a beginner Razz player or a high roller, the top Razz poker rooms will carry stakes that are right for you. Learn the rules with free games or take a shot at some micro-stakes cash games. You may also find tournaments with big buy-ins and guarantees.
Bonuses & Promotions: Why settle for just winnings when you play Razz at an online poker site? US poker websites will offer healthy promotions year-round, including loyalty points, leaderboard challenges and free buy-ins.
Customer Support: Got a problem that needs solving? It’s important to get instant access to a great customer support team. The top online poker rooms will offer live chat, phone, or email as standard.
US States Where Razz Poker is Legal
Online poker is now legal in several US states. You can register and play Razz poker online for real money, all from the comfort of your own home.
New Jersey: The Garden State was early in legalizing and regulating online poker. New Jersey now boasts one of the healthiest online poker industries in the US. Play Razz poker for a few cents or enter the World Series of Poker Online and play for millions.
Nevada: Along with New Jersey, Nevada legalized online poker games back in 2013. The online market in Nevada is dominated by WSOP.com, the online arm of the World Series of Poker.
Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania is a newcomer to the regulated US market. However, it’s now legal to play at the best online Razz poker sites in PA. Plus, Pennsylvanians can play at one of the world’s biggest online poker operators – PokerStars.
West Virginia: West Virginia has fully embraced legalized online poker in the last couple of years. In West Virginia, online poker sites, offering cash games and tournaments, are slowly making their way into the state.
Michigan: Online gambling and poker has been legal in Michigan since 2019. Online casinos and poker sites made their debut in early 2021. Currently, Poker Stars and BetMGM Poker allow Michigan residents to play poker online.
Delaware: Delaware has had some form of regulated online poker since 2013. However, the pool of poker sites is small. You are now permitted to play against online players in Nevada and New Jersey, increasing the potential prize pools.
What is Razz Poker?
Razz is a “lowball” variant of poker played with two or more players. It’s a version of seven card stud poker where the lowest hand wins, not the highest. For example, a hand like 6-5-4-3-A wins the pot against a hand like A-A-K-K-2.
In terms of betting, Razz is like seven card stud. Each player receives seven cards, with the first two and the seventh dealt face down. The rest of the cards are dealt face up after each betting round and are community cards.
Typically, Razz is played as a cash game online. You can also play heads-up at some of the best online Razz poker sites. Tournaments are less common, but the World Series of Poker schedules lots of Razz events. In addition, Razz forms one round of the mixed game, H.O.R.S.E, where rounds alternate between Hold’em, Omaha, Razz, Stud, and Stud Eight or Better.
How to Play Razz Poker Online
It’s easy for a poker player get started playing Razz online.
First, you’ll need to open your poker account. Choose one of our highly recommended online poker sites that are legal in the US. Remember that not all sites are legal in your state. Plus, we will never recommend poker rooms that are based offshore as they are unregulated and do not offer the same protections.
Step 1: To open your account, you’ll need to create a username and password. These must be unique, and your password must be strong.
Step 2: Provide some personal details like home address, email address, phone number and Social Security number. This is to help the poker site verify your ID.
Step 3: Check your email for a verification message. Click on the link provided to confirm your email address.
Step 4: You can now make a first deposit and start playing real money Razz poker online. You can also enter a promo code to earn yourself a poker bonus.
Step 5: With funds in your account, you can start searching the lobby for some Razz games. You can also jump into play-money games to learn the rules. The best online Razz poker sites will also let you download a native app so you can play games on your smartphone or tablet.
Top Razz Poker Sites
If you are looking for the top razz poker online sites for US players, you'll be pleased to know there are a few options.
As the largest online poker room in the world, it's common to find 200,000 eager players placing bets at the same time. As one of the best poker rooms, it's only natural to have the best software. In fact, many enthusiasts claim that you won't find any better. PokerStars has a game selection unparalleled to any other poker site, or casino offering poker, for that matter. You'll also find poker tournaments ranging in riches and skill; plus, they're available all of the time. Right now, you can play your Razz poker hand in Michigan, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. If this is your go-to game, and PokerStars is not yet available in your state, bookmark this page because we'll be updating it regularly.
BetMGM Poker is another impressive online poker platform. It offers players the full gamut of poker variations. The state-of-the-art software is accessible on mobile and desktop. Players will find cash games, tournaments, fast-forward poker, sit and go's, and everything else in between. All game varieties are available for play at microstakes to rich hands. Whether you are new to the game or well versed in poker, BetMGM Poker is highly recommended. At this time, Michigan, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania players can access this online poker room.
Basic Rules for Razz Poker
Razz poker rules are easy to learn if you’re familiar with 7 card stud. The only difference is that the worst hand wins, not the best. Razz uses the Ace to 5 method for ranking hands too. So, the “best” hand in Razz (i.e., the lowest possible hand) is A-2-3-4-5, where the ace is always low.
Each player will receive seven cards in total for a full hand of Razz. The first two cards and the seventh card are dealt face down. The remaining cards are dealt face up. Only the player receiving their cards can view their down cards.
The Deal: At the start of the game, every player pays an ante. This is a fixed bet, and you’ll find the amount clearly displayed on the table.
Every player is then dealt two cards face down, and one face up. The player with the highest up card must start the action with a “bring-in” bet. This is usually a fraction of the full-sized bet.
Betting: Most Razz poker online is played with Limit betting. So, for the first two rounds of betting – third street and fourth street – the bet is “small.” For the fifth street, sixth street and seventh street, the minimum bet or raise is “big.”
For example, in a $2/4 game, the small bet would be $2 and the big bet $4.
Fourth Street: After the betting round is complete, each player receives a fourth card dealt face up. Whoever shows the lowest visible hand starts the betting. They have the option of checking here (placing no bet).
Fifth Street: A fifth card is dealt up to each player. Again, the player with the lowest up cards starts the betting. The fifth card is where the big bet starts to come into play. In our game, all bets and raises would now increase to $4.
Sixth Street: Each player receives a sixth card face up. This is the final up card. Another round of betting follows.
Seventh Street: The final card (the “river”) is dealt face down to all players who are left in. There is a final round of betting, followed by a showdown. Whoever has the best five-card hand closest to Ace-to-5 scoops the pot.
It is possible for two players to have equal hands. In this case, the pot is split.
Razz Hand Rankings
In this game, the lowest, or worst, hand wins. The strongest hand is the lowest possible hand: A-2-3-4-5. Straights and flushes don’t count in this instance.
Unpaired hands are ranked starting from the highest card in the hand. For instance, A-4-5-6-7 (“seven-low”) would beat A-2-3-4-9 (“nine-low”) because 7 is lower than 9.
Here are the top 10 Razz hands, ranked from best to worst:
Bad hands in Razz include any pairs or a three-of-a-kind. For example, a hand like K-K-4-3-2 will rarely win, even though it contains three low cards.
CHECK OUT: Our Guide To The Basic Rules of Poker
Razz Poker Tips to Consider
Now you know how to play the game, it’s important to understand some basic Razz poker strategy. Razz is like any other poker game in that you must practice sensible hand selection and choose stakes to suit your comfort level. But because of its lowball structure, there are some tips specific to this variation that you can learn.
Choose the Right Starting Hands: Hand selection is very important in Razz. If you have a pair in the hole, or a pair using one of your “door” cards (face up cards) you may want to fold.
The best starting hands are three cards with the potential to make a straight. These are known as 3-wheel cards.
For example, (A-2) 3 is a superb starting hand as it gives you three cards to the nuts (the best hand in Razz). Also try to avoid marginal cards like 7, 8 or 9 that can get you into trouble on further streets. Similarly, avoid high face cards like J, Q, and K.
Bluff With Your Strong Up Cards: Razz is a game with incomplete information. You can see your opponents’ up cards, but they can also see yours. This means you can fire off a few small bluffs if your up cards are low.
For example, on fifth street you are showing (K-10) 2-3-4. Your opponents can see you have three low cards but has no idea that your hole cards are so high. If your opponents show higher up cards, you can make a bluff to display strength.
Keep Track of Up Cards: In Razz, you can see all your opponents’ up cards. This gives even a beginner poker player a lot of information on what opponents may be drawing to.
It’s important, therefore, to constantly compare your hand to your opponents’ hand. Figure out what you’d need on the next street to draw to a stronger hand than your opponent. And never give your opponent a free card by checking.
Razz Poker Essentials
If you are serious about winning at Razz poker, before you click off to a site like Poker Stars or BetMGM Poker, remember the following essentials.
- A winning "Razz Hand" will be the worst hand at the table.
- Straights and flushes never count.
- Aces are always low.
- There is no qualifying hand required to win the pot. It is simply the worst, or lowest hand.
- The player with the lowest exposed hand will lead the bets.
- If two players have the exact same Razz hand, they will split the pot.
Razz Poker at the WSOP
Each year, the World Series of Poker hosts top poker events, and players, from around the globe. It can be said that the WSOP is the center-point, perhaps epicenter, of Razz poker. No one really knows where Razz poker came from, or when it was established. However, since 1971, the WSOP has hosted Razz poker events. Oddly enough, it left in 1972 and re-emerged in 1973. Although it may be less known to non-gamblers, this poker variant is by far one of the most popular lowball games amongst amateurs and professionals.
Ready to Play?
You might be completely new to Razz, or you may be familiar with the game and in search of the best site to play Razz poker online. Regardless of what you are looking for, we have you covered. Take these tips with you and sit down at the virtual felt tables.
Jon Young is a writer and magazine editor with over 12 years' experience in the gaming sector. He has written on everything from poker and slots to casino, sports betting and mobile gambling. When not trying to take down the Mega Moolah jackpot he can be found playing poker tournaments in casinos.